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Game Informer gives Mass Effect 9.75


Game Informer has reviewed Mass Effect for the Xbox 360 and the news is good. In short, the magazine thinks Mass Effect is one of the best games ever made. In particular, the magazine lauds the game's storyline and compelling characters. The review praises the game, noting that it has a deep and rich universe easily on par with Star Wars, even noting that it is "the next big franchise for science fiction junkies to latch onto." More importantly, the review notes that Mass Effect represents "a huge step forward for video games" and that it "rings in a new age of interactive storytelling."

The only downside of the game seems to be the combat, which is apparently hampered by balance problems and wonky AI. The review notes that the combat certainly isn't a deal breaker, and that it's still fun to play, but it's not quite on par with the grand universe present in the rest of the game.

All in all, Game Informer gives it a 9.75. How exactly one equates a game's deficiencies to a value of 0.25 we don't know, but we're sure the team at BioWare is pretty damned pleased (as are their new overlords, no doubt). Keep an eye out for the full review in the latest issue of Game Informer.

[Thanks, Morphy]

EA to buy Pandemic Studios and BioWare

Electronic Arts has announced today that it will acquire VG Holding Corp. from Elevation Partners. VG Holding owns both Pandemic Studios and BioWare, which means the deal nabs both developers for EA. Electronic Arts will be paying up to $650 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding, with up to $155 million being paid in equity to specific employees. Pandemic is currently hard at work on the excessively violent sandbox title, Mercenaries 2, which is being published by EA. The deal raises questions about BioWare, as the company is currently developing the galaxy hopping RPG Mass Effect for Microsoft Game Studios. As the game is set to be a trilogy, we have to wonder what this deal means for the next two installments.

We'd love to make some sort of Madden RPG joke here (Madden Effect, perhaps?), but we just don't have the energy. Hit the "read" link for the full press release.

[Via Joystiq]

BioWare: Mass Effect trilogy stays on 360

In an interview with CVG, BioWare president Greg Zeschuk intimated that the company plans to release all three iterations of its upcoming trilogy, Mass Effect, on Xbox 360. When asked if that means console exclusivity, Zeschuk states that it's too early to make such claims. Zeschuk further notes that BioWare is hoping that the latest console cycle will last longer than the previous cycle. He also mentions the kinds of downloadable content that might be released for Mass Effect, which could conceivably bridge the gap between sequels. Also, the company would like to produce a Mass Effect demo, but time is concern. In other words, don't cross your fingers. Zeschuk also discusses the DVD / Blu-Ray question (hint: Mass Effect fits on one DVD), KOTOR III, and the question of homosexuality in Mass Effect. Hit the "read" link for the full interview.

New Mass Effect media abounds

With November 20th over two months away, Mass Effect fans are probably keen to fill their senses with any information they can soak up. Lucky for them, the internets have obliged with some fresh new media. GameTrailers is hosting several new gameplay videos and developer interviews. Our favorite gameplay video of the bunch is embedded above. It highlights the game's dialogue and combat systems. More videos, which include exploration, combat, and (female) character creation are embedded after the break.

Continue reading New Mass Effect media abounds

Mass Effect officially arrives November 20th

Emerging from a wormhole in space, the official release date for the next RPG from BioWare, Mass Effect, has been announced. No longer confined to the nebulous date of "November," Mass Effect will be landing on retail shelves -- where it will no doubt encounter hostile alien life -- starting November 20th. We were very impressed with what we saw of the game at E3, and the media that has arrived since then has done nothing to dull said impressions. Yup, we can't wait to play Peter Moore's most anticipated game. Alas, now we are saddled with the knowledge that we have nearly three months to wait for it. Sigh ... if only there was something to keep us occupied until then.

Video: Mass Effect character customization


1UP and GameVideos posted an exclusive Mass Effect video where they get a chance to show off and discuss the game's character customization as well as talk about other features the game offers. First off, the character customization looks amazing. It's so detailed, natural and, from the looks of things, highly customizable. You'll have to watch the video to get a sense for what we're talking about. In the video the editors also chat about other Mass Effect topics like the command system, dialog interaction, the hopping vehicle and show in-game clips from the game while discussing each topic. It's definitely a great watch and even though it's nearly fifteen minutes long, we're sure you'll be interested enough to watch the full video without needing to skip ahead.

[Thanks, DjDATZ]

BioWare details Mass Effect villain


In the most recent Mass Effect blog update on IGN, BioWare takes a little time to describe the creation of the game's main villain, Saren. It seems the masses would like to know who Saren is and why he's so deliciously evil. First of all, those truly curious should probably check out the official novel, Mass Effect: Revelation. As for the rest of you, read on. It turns out that Saren is a Spectre -- an elite military unit that can basically do whatever the hell he wants to quell galactic threats -- just like the main character, Commander Shepard. He even spent time with Shepard's mentor, Captain Anderson. As the game wears on, you learn more about Saren and what his motivations are and, as is the case with any good villain, you may actually be able to empathize with him. BioWare assures us, however, that you'll still want to kill him. The blog goes on to detail the creation of Saren's look, which actually began with the creation of the Turian race itself in Mass Effect. It's a good read and definitely worth checking out for Mass Effect fans.

Video: E3 Mass Effect demonstration


Without a doubt, Mass Effect was one of the highlights of our time at E3. Sporting compelling gameplay and gorgeous visuals to boot, Mass Effect proved to be one of the most promising titles at the show. Hell, Peter Moore even told us it was the game he's most excited about. Of course, not everyone can go to E3 and not everyone got the chance to see BioWare's behind-closed-doors Mass Effect presentation. IGN managed to grab Greg Zeschuk, president of BioWare, for a live demonstration of the game. Zeschuk takes time to discuss the game's dialogue system, story, and it's combat system. For those curious about Mass Effect -- and even those who have already laid down their pre-orders, it's definitely worth a look. Check it out after the break.

Continue reading Video: E3 Mass Effect demonstration

Video: Mass Effect's delicious dialogue

Perhaps you read our recent impressions of Mass Effect. If you did, you'll know that we were mightily impressed with the game's dialogue system. Rather than simply presenting players with a set of scripted responses, Mass Effect more or less has players choose their gut response. This gives conversations a much more natural flow, and as a side effect, actually made us pay attention to what the characters were saying. If a game can actually make you enjoy the things your character says, rather than simply skipping over it, that's a good sign.

Having seemingly read our minds, GameVideos has posted a video of the dialogue system in action. Give it a watch and see how interesting it can be. Take special note of the choices the player didn't make, and you'll have an idea of how many possibilities there are. November can't come fast enough.

[Via Joystiq]

X3F impressions: Mass Effect


For many people, the wait for BioWare's Mass Effect has been a terribly arduous one. We've been treated to a few snippets of gameplay action, some very pretty screens, and even a novel, but the game itself is still four months away. We got a chance to take an extended look at the game at E3 this year, and honestly, it looks like it's going to be worth the wait.

First thing's first: the game is visually stunning. The level of detail in the character models is pretty much a textbook example of what the current generation of video games should look like. Even since its showing at GDC in March, the facial features have improved by leaps and bounds. The eyes have depth and the lip syncing is about as spot on as you're likely to see in a video game. Of course, the real graphical treats are the various alien races, which benefit from not having to tread the edge of the Uncanny Valley. As such, the alien characters seem to have a bit more life and verve to them than even the excellently detailed human offerings. The environments, too, are topnotch.

Continue reading X3F impressions: Mass Effect

Mass Effect screens dazzle the eyes


Mass Effect's official site has a batch of new screens that showcase some close ups of the character models, whilst throwing in some action shots for good measure. These are really coming along and are a feast for the eyes. The faces look lifelike and have amazing levels of detail. Obviously, BioWare is putting the Unreal 3 Engine to very good use for this expansive title. Go check out the screens and tell us those make you plan on picking this up when it arrives in September-ish.

[Thanks, Tyler]

Mass Effect pushed back, may arrive in September

BioWare's golden child of an RPG Mass Effect may have been bitten by that dreadful delay bug. CVG is reporting that during a Microsoft held event this morning they learned, in quite unofficial terms, that Mass Effect has been pushed back from a Summer release to sometime in September. Quite frankly we shouldn't use the word "delay" since there was no official release date set, but our collective consciouses expected the game to come rather soon. So, until official word gets out or this is cleared up, we'll err on the safe side and re-program our brains to expect a September release.

Final Mass Effect transmission is ... final


Last week we told you about those viral Mass Effect emergency transmissions and today we're semi-pleased to announce that the final transmission was posted. Embedded above is the "Final Emergency Transmission" and to be honest, we still have no clue what the point of all this YouTube video fun was for. Maybe it was Mass Effect's marketing team planting seeds of Mass Effect'ness into our brains and nothing more, but we've come to expect more from viral campaigns. But, in the end, we have three blurry and compressed Mass Effect videos. Yup, it'll do for now.

Bioware explains those icky Mass Effect screens


The other day we posted about new Mass Effect screenshots hitting the intertubes and some of you noticed that they weren't all that pretty. Honestly, when we posted them we didn't notice the obvious lack of prettiness factor that Mass Effect has come to epitomize and therefore didn't touch on it. Anyway, you guys weren't the only ones to notice the degrade in quality, because CVG ran a story about all the ugliness. And today CVG got a response from Bioware agreeing that these screenshots are fugly, but having an answer to why they are in an explanation that goes a little like this;

"The whole truth of the matter is that the person at BioWare who took those screenshots made a mistake. People in our industry don't admit this much, but we do make mistakes. The person took those screens at the last minute as they were needed for the article. He did take them in game from areas of the game that worked and then he sent them off... He didn't clear them with Casey and the ME team though."

Indeed, those screenshots came from the game, but came from an unfinished non-representative portion of the final gameplay. Which, we might say, is quite comforting. So, in response to all this talk, Bioware released another Mass Effect screenshot representative of the actual game as seen above. Great communication and transparency of the development process always clears things up, thanks for the honesty Bioware.

New Mass Effect screenshots emerge


Are those Mass Effect viral videos just not giving you enough visual stimuli? Does your inner fanboy just yearn for more? Well, you can thank Gamespot for coming up with four brand new Mass Effect screenshots for you to look at. In these screens you'll notice not only a fair share of specular bloom goodness, but a whole bunch of those long legged spider creatures. Hopefully these screenshots will feed your insatiable appetite for Mass Effect content and if not, you could always analyze all that fansite kit goodness. Make the jump for more screenshots.

[Thanks, DjDATZ]

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